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Vertonghen confident Belgium can regain clinical edge

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Jun 2024

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Jan Vertonghen believes Belgium will be able to handle the pressure and bounce back from their first Euro 2024 defeat.

Slovakia earned a surprise win over the Red Devils thanks to Ivan Schranz’s early goal, and a wasteful Belgium were unable to salvage a point.

Lukaku thought he had twice equalised, though both strikes were ruled out, the first for offside and the second by VAR for a handball in the build-up.

Despite an early setback in the tournament, Vertonghen is confident his side will be able to quickly put it behind them when they face Romania next time out.

“Obviously, the team is very disappointed after yesterday’s result,” Vertonghen said.

“You always want the first game at a tournament to take the pressure away a bit, but now the pressure is probably even more and that’s why we’re disappointed. We’re not disappointed in the way we played, or the chances we created or the way we defended.

“[To change our style] would be a mistake in my opinion. Obviously, the easy answer is to score goals and avoid conceding any. But yeah, the mindset is key, to attack and then to win and to keep doing what we’ve been doing for the previous 15 matches.

“I would be more worried if we didn’t have the quality, so I’m confident we will score on Saturday.”

Belgium missed four Opta-defined big chances in this match, the first time they’d done so in a European Championship game since 1980 against Spain, with three of those falling to Lukaku.

The striker created an xG of 0.82 from his three shots over 90 minutes, cutting a frustrated figure on the pitch.

It is also the first time that Belgium have lost since 27 November 2022 against Morocco in the World Cup, ending a 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions (W10 D5).

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